February 18, 2015

17 Banneker Key Scholarship Interview Tips

Are you a Banneker Key Scholarship semifinalist? Do the stories on College Confidential about the interviews scare you? The available information from UMD explaining the Banneker Key interview is limited and doesn’t help much either. So I decided to interview current Banneker Key students (specifically underclassmen) in my attempt to provide less intimidating, more accurate information on the interviews. Part 3 is coming soon! (Part 1 is here.)

1) Read over your application before your interview. It’s probably been a few months since you last read it, so it’s good to jog your memory. -M.E.

2) Someone told me to go into the interview with a plan of what you want to do with your life/at Maryland. That was useful. -M.E.

3) You might want to prepare a question for your interviewers in case they ask if you have any questions at the end. - A.C.


4) Stay composed! Even if your interviewer is giving you the “you’re totally flunking this interview” feeling, stay calm! If you freak out, you’ll probably just slur your words and do worse. Besides, you’re probably doing fine, and it just might be an interview technique they’re using. -M.E.

5) Be sincere in your responses. - A.C.

6) I would highly stress showing passion for what you did in high school. Even if you don't feel like you did anything substantial, speak about your experiences in a way that highlights what you learned/enjoyed. - C.S.

7) Being enthusiastic and optimistic about what you've done shows lots about your character and attitude. Also, it's very important to always be kind and considerate, especially during the interview. Now is not the time to be egotistical or condescending. - C.S.
8) Be thankful for the opportunity you've been given. Show graciousness through your actions and words. The interviewers will notice (they notice many more things than you think). - C.S.

9) It’s okay to take your time when coming up with a response. It’s alright to pause before you respond. - A.C.

10) Be yourself. Show your love for Maryland. Talk about what you want to be involved in at Maryland. For example, if you participated in Key Club in high school, talk about how you definitely want to be part of Circle K International at Maryland. - H. M.

11) Be yourself. It's better to be yourself and honest than to not. - Harriet


12) Don't stress too much about the interview. I personally felt that the emphasis was on your application and not on your interview. - B.C.

13) Don't be so hard on yourself that day. You're a semi-finalist for a reason. Don't walk into this wondering, "Why am I here? There are so many people here who are better than me." I remember thinking, "I mean, I did well in high school, but all these people here have at least 2300's on their SAT's, and I barely got over a 2000." Don't do that. - Harriet

14) "Over half of the semifinalists will receive a full ride.That being said, most of the score/grade/award comparison has already been done by the admissions office. Don't [...] compare yourself to [the] other semifinalists when you get onto campus." - C.S.

15) Be friendly, introduce yourself to them, and try to make friends. Who knows, they could be your friends/classmates for the next four years? - C.S.
16) And most of all, please do relax and enjoy yourself. Your four years of hard work have come to a close, and you should look back with confidence at what you've achieved and how far you've come. - C.S. 

And last but not least... 

17) Enjoy the free ice cream! It’s not every day that you get free ice cream! - M.E.

Special thanks to those who were interviewed. These are their reflections and opinions only. Interviews were conducted in person and electronically; interviews were edited for clarity.


  1. Thank you :) This really puts me much more at ease.

    1. Goodluck. You should say how it goes. :)

    2. Goodluck. You should say how it goes. :)

  2. ok i'm ready for mine march 2 2016

  3. ok i'm ready for mine march 2 2016

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